Lufthansa apologizes after a large number of Jewish people are denied boarding flight

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Passengers told CNN they wanted to join a flight to Budapest for a pilgrimage on March 4, according to John F. Kennedy of New York. Kennedy flew Lufthansa from the airport to Frankfurt.

Yitzhi Helper of New York said that while he and many other passengers who could not be identified as Jews belonging to his group were told that they would not be allowed on board when they were trying to board the flight.

Helper said that once the gates were closed, the airline announced that their tickets to Budapest had been canceled due to an incident that occurred on a flight from JFK, which the airline told CNN that included people who did not follow mask rules or other crew member instructions.

The passengers told CNN that although they did not travel as a “group”, they were treated similarly by Lufthansa.

During the ad, which was captured on video, an employee said, “You know why it was,” and passengers were heard shouting, “No, we are not.”

Lufthansa said it was contacting passengers and “apologized not only for the inconvenience, but also for the offense and personal impact.” A spokesman told CNN that the airline was conducting an internal review.

Passengers accused the airline of being anti-Semitic

In a video of the incident, posted on a website called Dan Deals, the passengers accused the airline and German police, who were at the departure gate, of being anti-Semitic.

At one point, in a heated exchange, a passenger who does not appear or recognize the camera can be heard calling a police officer “Nazi.” Another passenger tells the police officer guarding the gate: “Your grandparents will be proud.”

Helpern is heard saying: “I am not with the group. I understand that the pilot made the decision and we do not question the pilot’s decision but obviously, we have been banned from other Lufthansa flights … Is this Lufthansa’s decision?” ?, Or all the Jews who were on that flight can’t go on another flight today?

Helppern talks to top management and continues to question the decision.

“I wore a mask all the time. Why am I clinging to them?” He asks the employee.

“Everyone has to pay for couples,” the employee says a few seconds later.

When Helpern asks for an explanation of what “everybody” means, the employee replies, “Because he is a Jew from JFK.”

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The helper and the employee, speaking in broken English, keep going back and forth, and then the employee is heard saying, “The Jewish people were the ones who caused the trouble.”

“So the Jews on the plane got into trouble so that all the Jews could be banned from Lufthansa for a day?” Helpern asks.

“Only for this flight,” the employee replies.

The three passengers contacted by CNN said they did not see anything normal on the flight from JFK and said that the passengers they saw followed the instructions of the airline staff to adjust their masks.

Yitzhi Schmidt, who was traveling with Helpern, told CNN that he had not seen any wrongdoing on the part of the passengers. Schmidt said many times people ate and forgot to put their masks back, or the passenger was asked to adjust their masks, but all the flight attendants he saw followed what he said.

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“We were all stunned and trying to figure out how this could happen,” Schmidt said.

Lufthansa apologized, saying the decision was based on “compliance”

“The rationale for the decision was based on various instances of non-compliance by numerous guests with mask requirements and crew-safety instructions on the previous flight LH401 from New York to Frankfurt,” airline spokeswoman Tal Muskel told CNN in a statement. “Lufthansa sincerely apologizes for the circumstances surrounding the decision to exclude the affected passengers from the flight, for which Lufthansa sincerely apologizes.”

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“What happened is not in line with Lufthansa’s policies or values. We have zero tolerance for racism, anti-Semitism and discrimination of any kind,” Muskel said. “While Lufthansa is still reviewing the facts and circumstances of the day, we regret that the large group was denied boarding instead of being confined to non-compliant guests.”

Muskel said he was not aware of any disciplinary action.

Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spoher told employees that what happened was unacceptable, according to a German news report confirmed by Muskel.

“Anti-Semitism has no place in Lufthansa,” Spoher said. “Last Wednesday’s process shouldn’t have happened this way and now it should be fully clarified.”

Earlier on Wednesday, he spoke in a video call with a Jewish leader in Berlin.

“We’ve been analyzing in detail for days how this could have happened. What really happened. Various sources. We’ve talked to our crew members so far. We’ve talked to the business on the ground. That’s clear. That’s why we We apologize, “Spohr told the rabbi. “This is nowhere in line with our rules of communication and rules of conduct.”

‘It was a kind of unacceptable choice’

At least two Jewish men were allowed to board a flight to Budapest.

Max Weingarton tells CNN that he and his business partner flew from JFK to Frankfurt in first class without any problems and were allowed to board the next flight.

Her business partner was stopped while boarding but was finally allowed onboard after discussions with airline staff.

“We didn’t dress like ultra-orthodox, we looked like ordinary citizens,” he told CNN. “The choice of non-Jews versus Jews or the choice between Jews is horrible. It was some kind of unacceptable choice that was made. I was totally uncomfortable.”

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German politician Marlene SchÓ¬Čnberger said that if the calculations turned out to be true, the results should come.

“Excluding Jews from the flight because they were identifiable as Jews is a scam. I expect German companies to be particularly aware of anti-Semitism,” she tweeted.

The Jewish life in the German state of Hesse and the fight against the anti-Semitic commissioner Uwe Baker demanded an apology and clarification from Lufthansa.

“Here, an entire group of people were apparently held responsible for something that apparently only affected individual tourists, simply because of their recognizable faith. This is discriminatory and not trivial,” he said.

CNN’s Carol Alvarado, Christopher Stern, Liam Reilly, Nicky Brown and Alexandra Field contributed to the report.

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